State Board Meets Today to Decide if Ohio Secretary of State May Spend Up to $3M to Prepay Absentee Ballot Postage


A state board is meeting today to decide if Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose can spend up to $3 million to pay for absentee ballot postage for the November elections.

The Ohio Controlling Board will consider LaRose’s request today. Their agenda is here, and more information about LaRose’s request is here.

This appropriation of state funds will be used by the Ohio Secretary of State to pay the cost of returning absentee ballots on behalf of any Ohio voter who opts to use that manner of voting in the November 3, 2020 General Election. This will not expand Ohio’s existing absentee voting opportunities and will not permit universal vote by mail. There will still be in-person voting at polling locations on Election Day, November 3, 2020. 

In response, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown on Sunday tweeted, “OHIOANS: state officials meet Monday to decide whether to pre-pay for the return postage on our absentee ballots. They absolutely should – it’s the most straightforward, nonpartisan way to ensure every Ohioan’s vote is counted this November. RT if you agree.”

The Ohio House in June passed House Bill 680 that, among other things, would prevent state officials from moving the date, place and manner of an election. The bill also says the secretary of state or board of elections “shall not prepay the return postage for that (absentee ballot) application.”

The bill is pending in the Senate.

Democrats last month attacked LaRose after the Controlling Board failed to hear his request for the funds, The Ohio Star reported. LaRose’s request to use general revenue funds follows the much-maligned primary.

“This is really breeding confusion. Don’t throw out promises that you can’t keep,” state Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson, D-Toledo, said in a statement. “That is exactly the kind of thing that created so much confusion during our primary.”

LaRose generated a Facebook firestorm Sept. 1 when his office mailed out absentee ballot applications, with some people reporting they received multiple applications and even applications for previous residents, The Star reported.

In an email exchange with The Star, Maggie Sheehan, the press secretary for LaRose, said “absentee ballot request forms have been sent in every even-year Ohio general election since 2012.”

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Ohio House Floor” by OHRGOPCaucus.




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